Wednesday 2 September 2015

From fist fights to burning of rubbish, TDs are tidying up after councils

Cormac McQuinn

Published 04/01/2013 | 05:00

WHILE many of the letters sent by ministers related to routine housing applications – as well as some bizarre requests – a number of significant cases were raised in the correspondence.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney wrote to Cork city manager Tim Lucey asking him to look into the case of a family seeking a housing transfer, after a young girl was savaged by a dog. He wrote that the girl received "very serious injuries".

Mr Coveney said that although the dog was put down, the owner, who is a regular visitor to the estate, has bought another dog of the same breed "which is causing distress and flashbacks to the child".

He said the family "is desperately seeking a transfer" to a different address. Mr Lucey referred the letter to the council's housing department.

Staff at Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald's constituency office contacted South Dublin County Council last August with a resident's concerns over anti-social behaviour.

The council responded saying that it had been contacted by residents "regarding an organised bare-knuckle fight" that led to an incident where a council property was "completely destroyed" in a fire.

It said that repairs would take a year and the tenants' rehousing "will be dependent on the outcome of the investigations by both the gardai and the council into their activities".

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore wrote letters to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council on behalf of a couple who had made a joint application for housing but were refused because the man involved had been jailed for a "serious drink-related assault".

Mr Gilmore said that the man "had not reoffended", had "served his sentence" and "has turned his life around".

"It is therefore not acceptable that the council impose further sentence on this family," said Mr Gilmore, who asked the local authority to lift a deferral on the couple's application for housing.

The council replied saying that it acted in accordance with "fair procedure" and council policy "at all times", but said it was willing to review the decision if the couple made an appeal application.

Mr Gilmore sent a further letter saying that he was requesting a review of the council's decision and the local authority later confirmed to him that arrangements for a review were being made.

Meanwhile, Health Minister James Reilly's staff passed on letters from a couple living in north Dublin whose neighbours, a family of Travellers, were allegedly selling cars and diesel from the garden of their house.

They also complained that they were suffering health problems from the burning of household rubbish by their neighbours.

They said they felt "let down time after time by Fingal County Council".

The council wrote to the minister's constituency office last July saying "investigations into these allegations are ongoing".

Irish Independent

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